St Helens 48 Wakefield Trinity 10: Trinity’s Cup dream is over after Saints prove too strong

Wakefield's Jack Croft scores a try on his debut against St Helens. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Wakefield's Jack Croft scores a try on his debut against St Helens. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Teenager Jack Croft scored a try on his debut, but Wakefield Trinity bowed out of the Coral Challenge Cup when they were outclassed 48-10 at St Helens on Saturday afternoon.

It was the toughest-possible quarter-final draw for Trinity, away to the Betfred Super League leaders and Cup favourites and they were second-best despite a spirited effort.

Wakefield were blown away in the second quarter when Saints scored three tries to turn an 8-6 lead into a 26-6 interval advantage.

Saints also finished the second half strongly, scoring four tries in the final 19 minutes.

Trinity were up against it from the start, missing Max Jowitt (hand), Mason Caton-Brown (stomach), Junior Sa’u (Cup-tied), David Fifita (foot) and James Batchleor (knee) from the team which lost to Catalans Dragons last week.

To make things worse, they lost Danny Kirmond with a head injury - moments after he had battled on following treatment to a knee - reducing them to 16 fit players for the final 62 minutes.

Pivot Danny Brough returned after recovering from a broken thumb and 19-year-old centre Croft was drafted in alongside Lee Kershaw, Jordan Crowther and Keegan Hirst.

The scale of the challenge got steeper after just two minutes when Saints went ahead in their first set, Jonny Lomax sending Lachlan Coote over.

The full-back booted the first of his five conversions, but remarkably, Trinity hit back straight away.

It was Croft who opened their scoring with his first touch, crashing over for a strong finish from Ryan Hampshire’s pass.

Brough converted from the touchline, but that was as good as it got for Wakefield in the opening 40.

Coote kicked Saints back ahead with a penalty and the pressure built on Trinity until the 20th minute when Tommy Makinson dived over at the corner.

Trinity had a chance when Regan Grace spilled the restart and the ball was picked up in an offside position, but - following the penalty - Hampshire lost possession straight to Dom Peyroux.

Kevin Naiqama was in support and though Hampshire made a try-saving tackle, the ball was moved right on the next play and Morgan Knowles went over.

The same player made a clean break in the next set; Hampshire got back to drag him down, but pulled the ball out and was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Saints scored eight points while Trinity were down to 12 men.

Coote took the two from the ball-steal penalty, Grace went over from Zeb Taia’s offload and then Coote booted his third penalty of the half.

Wakefield made a positive start to the second period and pulled four points back 10 minutes in when Brough stabbed a kick over the line and Tyler Randell ran through to touch down.

That gave Trinity a glimmer of hope which wasn’t extinguished until 19 minutes from time when Zeb Taia zipped over from Joseph Paulo’s pass. The conversion made it 32-10 and there was no way back.

Taia and Coote combined to carve out a try for Mark Percival soon afterwards, Jonny Lomax finished off good work by Taia with nine minutes left and Naiqama completed the scoring, off Coote’s pass, in the 76th minute.